Swift Publisher 4
DTP is a dying art… and looking at this software, we can see why
Mac users have few budget alternatives to Adobe InDesign. This one is affordable, and has a tidy new look that’s very OS X, unlike Adobe’s. It works much as before, but sports dozens of new templates, in US and UK paper sizes.
Paper is the focus: you can’t produce iPad magazines, or iBooks or EPUBs. Yet there’s no option to design spreads – facing pages. Instead, you work on one page at a time, and the app later offers to arrange them on larger sheets to fold into a booklet (a process known as imposition). Output to PDF for commercial printing is handled no better, and the app’s references to prepress practice are often incorrect.
This really misses the point of DTP, which is to enable precise layout of multi-page documents. Text and picture boxes readily align with each other, but don’t always want to snap to guides. Keyboard shortcuts cover things like kerning (adjusting the space between two characters), but zooming in and out is clunky and can’t be done with the mouse or trackpad. Though the app is mostly smooth, we saw glitches in things as simple as line spacing and undo.
Extra features like barcodes, photo effects and clip art are welcome, but don’t make up for omissions like the absence of checks on image resolution and inadequate control over justified text. Adam Banks Swift Publisher might seem to make DTP simple, but it sets you up to learn the hard way.
There are lots of ways to align elements, but guide-snapping can let you down.